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Re: [mythsoc] Shelob

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  • David Bratman
    John Davis wrote: To: Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 6:09 AM Subject: [mythsoc] Shelob ... Not specifically about
    Message 1 of 31 , Mar 25, 2011
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      "John Davis" <john@...> wrote:
      To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 6:09 AM
      Subject: [mythsoc] Shelob


      >Did any of the Free Peoples know about Shelob before Sam and
      >Frodo encountered her? Gandalf, perhaps, or Faramir since he
      >spent much time in Ithilien?
      >
      >In the PJ films, if memory serves, Faramir seems to know that
      >Gollum is taking them a dangerous way into Mordor. But is
      >there any evidence in Tolkien's writing that anyone actually
      >knew about Shelob?

      Not specifically about Shelob, as far as I can know offhand. But in the
      book, as well as the movies, it's known to be a dangerous way.

      Book 4, chapter 3: "Its name was Cirith Ungol, a name of dreadful rumour.
      Aragorn could perhaps have told them that name and its significance; Gandalf
      would have warned them."

      Book 4, chapter 6: Faramir interrogating Gollum acts as if the very name
      "Cirith Ungol" should be warning enough. And "Cirith Ungol" actually means
      "pass of the spider," so, like, duh.

      same chapter, Faramir to Frodo: "I do not think you are holden to go to
      Cirith Ungol, of which [Gollum] has told you less than he knows. That much
      I perceived clearly in his mind. Do not go to Cirith Ungol! ... There is
      some dark terror that dwells in the passes above Minas Morgul. If Cirith
      Ungol is named, old men and masters of lore will blanch and fall silent."

      Frodo then reasonably asks, if he shouldn't go to Cirith Ungol, by what
      route should he then go, to accomplish his errand? Faramir has no better
      suggestion, except that he's sure Gandalf would have thought of something
      else, so he gives Frodo his implied blessing.
    • John Davis
      Thanks everyone! John ... From: Darrell A. Martin To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 10:45 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Shelob ... Hi:
      Message 31 of 31 , Mar 28, 2011
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        Thanks everyone!
         
        John
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 10:45 PM
        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Shelob

         

        On 3/25/2011 9:25 AM, Troels Forchhammer wrote:
        >
        >
        > On 25 March 2011 14:51, <aveeris523@... <mailto:aveeris523@...>>
        > wrote:
        >
        >
        > In a message dated 3/25/11 6:09:24 AM, john@...
        > <mailto:john@...> writes:
        >
        > Did any of the Free Peoples know about Shelob before Sam and
        > Frodo encountered her? Gandalf, perhaps, or Faramir since he
        > spent much time in Ithilien?
        >
        >
        > That's an interesting question John; the orcs certainly did! I'll
        > check _LOTR: A Reader's Companion_, Hammond & Scull.
        >
        >
        > My impression is that people had certainly known /about/ Shelob (hence
        > the name of the pass, the Pass of the Spider) but the specifics had been
        > forgotten, leaving it to simply 'have a bad name'. Unless I misremember,
        > there is somewhere a hint that Gandalf might have told Frodo more about
        > the pass and its name.
        >
        > /Troels

        Hi:

        Faramir told Frodo that when the name Cirith Ungol was brought up to the
        old loremasters, they were frightened by it and refused to discuss it.
        In the same conversation he mentioned that the young men of Gondor no
        longer ventured east of the Ithilien road.

        Clearly, among the old and learned the meaning of Cirith Ungol was still
        known, at the time of the War of the Ring. But the details were not
        discussed, and none of Faramir's generation had any experience of the pass.

        I think it is a bit of a stretch to think Frodo would have automatically
        translated "Cirith Ungol" to "mountain pass where one or more giant
        spiders currently live". Yes, he *could* have thought that, or suspected
        it (and perhaps he did). Regardless, however, Gollum was right when he
        said that if Master wanted to enter Mordor, he had to go some way, and
        that no way was safe; and Frodo was right when he rejected the idea of
        going back to the Black Gate and surrendering on the spot. Damn the
        spiders, full speed ahead.

        Darrell

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